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Sweden Calls for EU to Ban Bitcoin and Ethereum Mining

Bitcoin
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Coming on the heels of China's ban of Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrency mining in the country, the heads of Swedish financial and environmental protection authorities this month published an open letter to the Swedish and the EU governments calling to ban energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining. 

"The social benefit of crypto-assets is questionable," wrote Erik Thedéen, Director General at the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, and Björn Risinger, Director General at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, in the open letter (via The Register). "The consumer risks are significant, and crypto-assets are commonly used for criminal purposes. Crypto-assets also have a significant negative impact on the climate as mining leads to both large emissions of greenhouse gases and threatens the climate transition that needs to happen urgently."

Sweden is one of the countries that do not heavily rely on energy generation by plants fueled by coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. 80% of Sweden's electricity comes from its three nuclear power plants (40%), hydroelectric power plants, and wind power generator, so at present Sweden is much greener than other well-developed countries.

Sweden's energy consumption per capita was 11,800 kWh in 2020, which is approximately 50% above the EU average. While electricity prices in Sweden are among the lowest in Europe, they are clearly not the lowest right now. But the share of hydropower generation, the lowest-cost source of electricity, is surging (just like the share of wind power generators), which makes the country a target for cryptocurrency mining farms that demand low-cost energy. But that energy could be used for something more important.

"If we were to allow extensive mining of crypto-assets in Sweden, there is a risk that the renewable energy available to us will be insufficient to cover the required climate transition that we need to make," the letter reads.

As such, the authors ask the Swedish government and the EU authorities to ban energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, altogether. As an alternative, they suggest allowing non-energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining, but the popularity of the greener Chia coin currency has stagnated for months now. They also write that companies with cryptocurrencies generated using proof-of-work methods (what BItcoin and Ethereum use), were unable 'to describe or market themselves or their activities as sustainable.'

Anton Shilov
Anton Shilov

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • scottsoapbox
    We also should ban cash as it is commonly used for criminal purposes.

    Oh and credit cards, checks, bank transfers, and gift cards as they are commonly used for criminal purposes.
    Reply
  • renz496
    good.
    Reply
  • Nolonar
    scottsoapbox said:
    We also should ban cash as it is commonly used for criminal purposes.

    Oh and credit cards, checks, bank transfers, and gift cards as they are commonly used for criminal purposes.
    I know you're being sarcastic, but you're also absolutely correct. We really should ban cash (all forms of it).

    The problem is that until our AI can take over all our jobs, getting rid of money would also cause our economy to collapse, as people wouldn't want to work anymore. How many people are willing to work hard every day tilling the soil and caring for livestock, if they're not getting anything for it? And how many people would starve to death, if farmers chose to only grow what they personally need?

    So while we should ban cash, we can't just yet.
    Reply
  • deanimate
    scottsoapbox said:
    We also should ban cash as it is commonly used for criminal purposes.

    Oh and credit cards, checks, bank transfers, and gift cards as they are commonly used for criminal purposes.

    Guess you missed:
    "Crypto-assets also have a significant negative impact on the climate ..."
    Reply
  • GaryC2000
    scottsoapbox said:
    We also should ban cash as it is commonly used for criminal purposes.

    Oh and credit cards, checks, bank transfers, and gift cards as they are commonly used for criminal purposes.
    Exactly, I watched a documentary film last week "The Inside Job" and it the levels of Systemic Corruption between governments and banks is unreal, HSBC laundered hundreds of millions in Cartel Drug money.............

    Tell me again who are the criminals ?
    Reply
  • F-minus
    scottsoapbox said:
    We also should ban cash as it is commonly used for criminal purposes.

    Oh and credit cards, checks, bank transfers, and gift cards as they are commonly used for criminal purposes.

    Guess you missed those news; https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/kosovo-bans-cryptocurrency-mining-save-electricity-2022-01-04/
    Crypto is cancer to the power grids and power consumption of countries, which causes all kinds of negative effects, this is the reason it should be banned everywhere.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    F-minus said:
    Crypto is cancer to the power grids and power consumption of countries, which causes all kinds of negative effects, this is the reason it should be banned everywhere.
    Also top contenders for reasons to ban crypto would be the ridiculous additional strain it puts on the electronics supply chain and all of the additional e-waste generated along the way.
    Reply
  • Grobe
    Nolonar said:
    We really should ban cash (all forms of it)
    Do we remember not too long ago, the proposal of extremely strict rules for video hosting sites went through in EU because of the music industry ?

    When politicians vote on such things, it wouldn't be a surprise if they see this proposal, and suddenly all CPU manufactorer have to remove the cache memory to sell the product legally 💩 :sneaky:
    Reply